Travel Blog - Zebbug, one of the prettiest villages in Gozo.
Updated: Oct 6, 2020
Giving this quaint village its full name, Iż-Żebbuġ means olives or olive trees in Maltese, which suggests a history of past olive groves or olive pressing to have taken place in the area.
When looking at accommodation options for this trip, I was completely open to village/resort, as this wasn’t the deciding factor for me. You see, my heart was completely set on fulfilling a lifelong dream of staying in a Gozitan house of character, or wish of all wishes, a Gozitan Farmhouse. Boy did I strike gold when I found Ta' Kullarina on #airbnb
It simply leapt right off the screen at me and I had to book it then and there. My wish was about to come true! 🥰
Once booked, it was only then that I really looked into where on the island the farmhouse was located 😆 I would have a car, so it really didn't matter where I was located. Imagine my thrill when I found out I'd be staying in this gorgeous little village with #panoramic views! 😀
Zebbug lies on a tranquil hill to the north of Gozo and it has the most breath-taking views. Especially at this time of year with the luscious brightly coloured Gozitan countryside, and the mesmerising azure blue #Mediterranean sea below.
Here is my first little bit of #trivia for you today 😉
Did you know Zebbug is geographically the nearest village to Sicily? (aside from mainland Italy)
The village centre is compact which I loved, and my farmhouse was just a couple of minutes drive or around a leisurely 15-20 minute stroll.
The buildings with their gorgeously ornate traditional balconies in lots of pretty colours are an absolute joy! There is also an English phone box, which you find in a lot of villages on the islands. A throw back to when #Malta was a part of the British Empire (and was for over 150 years)
You won’t find any large stores here, and that’s the beauty of staying in a village. Living like a local, soaking up the atmosphere and the easy village way of life.
Nowhere is far away on #Gozo, so for all bigger purchases, you can find supermarkets like #Lidl just outside the capital #Victoria. There is also the wonderful little Lighthouse Supermarket just outside the resort of #Marsalforn where I dropped into. I love these little local supermarkets, you can pick up some awesome deli items and of course the delicious local wine 🍷 and beers too 🍻 😉
For some tips I share my favourite Maltese wines and beers here
One of the things which totally warms my heart and I love to see on the islands, are the grocery vans.
They sell the most incredibly fresh fruit and vegetables, along with household items, and even wine. They are an absolute godsend for the older parishioners who only need to step outside their homes to shop, and best of all its wondrously social too. The vans make several stops throughout the village ensuring all can take advantage. For me, it’s tomatoes which always top my shopping list, 🍅 they are absolutely #heavenly!
I must share with you my very quick visit to Lidl 😆
Whilst packing I decided (based on previous March experiences on the islands) that I didn't need to take any sunscreen ☀️ ☔️ 💨 🧥
Wrong, but how beautifully and surprisingly wrong ☺️ Gozo at the beginning of March was uncharacteristically hot, hot, hot! 🥵
As I was passing through Victoria for the umpteenth time 😆 I remembered the location of Lidl, and thought I’d be sure to find sunscreen there 🤔
Bad move 😳 as soon as I entered, I found myself in the midst of my first “toilet roll war” 😱 😂 Whoa!
My Mam and friends had been telling me all about the supermarket sweeps taking place back home, but this was my first experience and first realisation that whilst I was having a giddy time exploring, something very real was starting to happen here and in the outside world. Alas finding no sunscreen, I exited as quickly as I could evading injury 😆
Ok, back on track again now, I promise!
The most important part of each Maltese or Gozitan village, and always located in the centre, is the Parish #Church. I’ve yet to see one which doesn’t force you to exclaim “wow” and make a u-turn to capture the perfect travel photograph.
Well, firstly they are built on a very grand scale, and secondly they are built using the gorgeous mellow yellow Maltese #Limestone which is native to the islands. Each parish church is simply resplendent, a beacon of hope, peace and charity gleaming in the bright Mediterranean sunshine.
Would you like a little more trivia?
Maltese limestone is so abundant that locals refer to Malta as “The Rock”. The islands themselves and most things built on them are literally carved in this stone!
Zebbug Church is no exception to the resplendent rule. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven parish church is of Roman Catholic denomination, and dates back to the late 1600’s or early 1700’s.
On the day and time I visited I was unable to enter, but I spent some time taking in all of the splendour of the captivating exterior.
The church was undergoing reconstruction to one of the bell towers, and I was overjoyed to find the bell to be found so unusually at ground level! A hugely lucky opportunity to view its amazing detail up close. It was simply spectacular. Also to be seen were huge blocks of the golden limestone ready and waiting to be used in the towers reparation.
You all know how much I love anything mystical and mythical now right? 😊
Well, joy of joys, I discovered that the church is swathed in folklore! The altarpiece of the Immaculate Conception which can be found in the left transept is known by the locals as tal-Virtut ( which translates as “of the miracles” )
The tale goes that the radiant face of the Virgin turns a different colour, a radiant but pale yellowish, right before a natural catastrophe! 😮 Another tale tells that a gang of raiders dared to devastate and plunder the countryside reaching as far as the village! However they were met by a lady who is said to resemble the Virgin in the alter piece and she repelled the enemy by hurling stones at them 💪
There is an awesome view from the village across to Ta’ Gurdan Lighthouse, which is a working #lighthouse located on a hill above the village of #Ghasri. It too was currently undertaking a little #TLC.
A little more trivia? Oh go on then you've twisted my arm 😆
During World War II the lighthouse was used as an early warning radar station, warning of incoming enemy aircraft and allowing for the air raid sirens to be sounded in advance of an attack.
The countryside surrounding the village is perfect for sheep farming. The milk from the herds of sheep are used to produce some of the islands finest #gbejnet (traditional Gozo cheese) which I had for breakfast each morning.
During my stay I was extremely lucky to sample two of the local restaurants.
A takeaway meal from Francesco’s (with a gorgeous glass of wine whilst I waited 😉) which was in fact a recommendation by my new friends at Avis 🚗 Francesco’s make the most awesome #pizza 🍕 😋 you can read all about Francesco's here 😍
On my last evening, I sampled the delights of The View Bar and Kitchen, which is situated just next door to Francesco’s.
It’s so easy to park your car in the village, there are parking bays in the middle of the square, and you can also park kerbside. I arrived when it was dark, at around 7.30 pm having spent an amazing sunset at Sannap Cliffs. I simply have to revisit this restaurant in the Summer months, or for lunch as it has a lovely terrace which offers a magnificent view across land and sea!
I ordered a delightful glass of local rosé wine, Bruschetta to start, and to follow, my favourite #pasta, Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino. It’s such a simple dish, but absolutely bursting with flavour!
One of the things I've learned over the years is that when ordering pasta on the islands, its best to order the starter portion size, as its more than ample.
I was so thankful I had, as before my starter arrived I was delighted to receive a plate of my other favourite Galletti, (water crackers) with a bowl of olives and a delicious dip. The dip was so addictive but I really couldn't work out what it was. I had to ask the waiter and he thought butter bean, but then checked with the chef and confirmed it was actually aubergine. Yum, yum, yum! I was hooked.
The Bruschetta was so fresh and made with scrummy local traditional bread, and the pasta, well my bowl was quite simply a very generous portion of pure delight!
Time for one last piece of trivia!
Did you know that my favourite pasta dish is also known by the Italians as midnight pasta? Often eaten after a night out, spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino uses just garlic, oil and chilli as it’s ingredients, so it’s easy to prepare, is cheap to make and is generous in size! Beats my curry pot noodle and crisp sandwich any day 😆
The Kazin Tal Banda Santa Marija (local band club) was also another recommendation. I do love my band clubs, so this is most definitely on my list to visit next time.
It was so easy for me to reach the rest of the island from Zebbug, in-fact I’d go so far as to say, I couldn’t have chosen anywhere better. 😊
I was so sad to leave the island, but I still have some awesome places to share with you! They were whistle stops but just long enough to capture my heart 💖 and long enough to capture some awesome snaps.
I will be sharing Part 1 with you all next week my lovelies 😊
Until then take care,, stay safe and enjoy this beautiful weather! But most importantly immensely enjoy your time with your nearest and dearest from tomorrow (albeit still limited and from a social distance) it’s been a very long time coming!